News & Events

UMPI presents first person interpreter Jennifer Emerson

The University of Maine at Presque Isle welcomes Jennifer Emerson, a first person interpreter and historian, for an interactive performance and presentation titled Cape Horn Widows: Widows Holding Down the Homefront on Tuesday, April 3, at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center. This event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

Being held just after Women’s History Month, Emerson will deliver a presentation—part of it as an Interactive First Person Performance—about the wives of whalers and how they effectively taught sailors to read, write, and achieve balance in their personal lives. A First Person Interpreter takes on the role of historical figure and speaks as if he or she were that person living in that time period.

“Whaling voyages were long, sometimes lasting two to five years,” Emerson said. “Much is written about what the men did at sea, but how did those left on shore constructively occupy their time? Rather than focusing upon modern-day controversy concerning the practice of whaling, this presentation immerses the audience in 19th-century culture and explores one choice many women made to help better a class of men who were often cheated, maltreated, and exploited, both at sea and ashore.”

Born and raised in Groton, Conn., Emerson has 16 years of experience in First Person Interpretation. From Connecticut to Baltimore to London, she has honed her craft on both sides of the Atlantic. A living history playwright, performer, and guide over the past decade and a half, she has created an army of characters.

Her work has been seen at Mystic Seaport, Shaw Mansion, Fort Griswold Battlefield State Park, Smith-Harris House, Noank Historical Society, Nathan Lester House, Samuel Smith Farmstead and Jabez Smith House where she also served as Curator, Charles Dickens’s first childhood home in Cleveland Street (London), and the Duston-Dustin Garrison House in Haverhill, Mass.

Emerson holds an Associate’s degree of Liberal Arts from Mitchell College in New London, Conn., a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts, Speech and Film from Keene State College in Keene, NH, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from Fairfield University in Fairfield, Conn. Her first novel, Dickens and the Whore, a work of historical fiction concerning Charles Dickens’s involvement in prostitution reform, served as her Master’s Thesis and debuted in February 2014.

In 2014, she also starred in Firesite Films’ award-winning documentary, The Prize of the Chesapeake as Mrs. Captain Henry Dashiell. With no lines, she had to cry on queue–for eight hours of shooting—her character’s sorrow revealed solely by body language.

“Whatever the subject, I enjoy the challenge and excitement of bringing history alive for a modern audience in fun, fresh and believable ways,” Emerson said.

UMPI welcomes the campus and the community to come to this event on April 3. For more information about this event, contact the University’s Community and Media Relations Office at 207-768-9452 or email umpi@maine.edu.